It’s OK, Customer Service (even eService) can be Fun!

My sister, a customer service maven in her day, forwarded to me a wonderful little email she received
from the customer service department from Better World Books :

Hey Carole,  <name obscured by me to protect my sister’s privacy!>

We’re just checking in to see if you received your order (The Golden Door Cookbook ) from Better World Books. If your order hasn’t blessed your mailbox just yet, heads are gonna roll in the Mishawaka warehouse! Seriously though, if you haven’t received your order or are less than 108.8% satisfied, please reply to this message.

Let us know what we can do to flabbergast you with service.

Humbly Yours,

Indaba (our super-cool email robot)
Order Number: 53090456101

Fund literacy, care for the environment, and get a fair price on the books you want. (
2 Million Used Books. Free shipping in the USA, $3.97 worldwide.

Become a fan of Better World Books… on Facebook!

OK, so what did these folks do right?  How about everything?

Let’s list some highlights, shall we?

  • prompt confirmation of order
  • confirmation of order was personalized, with customer’s name and name of item ordered
  • then… HUMOR!  Okay, not knee-slapping, milk-through-the-nose funny, but just a little bit of a hah-hah, a few in a rapid-fire row: “heads will roll,” “108.8% satisfied,” and “flabbergast you with service.”  These all caught our attention, and in a good way – with a smile!
  • then… FULL DISCLOSURE!  After sharing a smile with the email, we then learn that it was sent NOT by a witty and clever service rep, but by an automated email responder.  Wow, they used technology to perform a function AND make a funny?  Is that even legal???
  • then… the closing of the email, and all the info YOU need to know (their email address and customer order #), as well as info that THEY want you to know (their excellent mission, their web address, their amount of inventory, their free shipping, and their Facebook page.  None of it obtrusive.  And the reader is happy to read it, because they’ve already been given a smile or two.

See, great customer service is not that difficult.  I like it when businesses get that.

— Chuck Dennis


  1. Posted May 6, 2010 at 4:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

    More on this interesting company in this article:

  2. Posted June 16, 2011 at 8:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Interestingly, I take the opposite view. If I had received that email, it would have seriously annoyed me. I had to read too much, spend too long and didn’t find it amusing or helpful.

    I have recently been reading Predicably Irrational by Dan Ariely and most interesting the chapter on Social Norms and Market Norms. Just as it is wrong to apply market norms (offering to pay in a purely social setting, e.g. offering Mother in Law money for the fantastic Thanksgiving), it is equally wrong to apply social norms to a pure market transaction. Of course we have been doing this for ever – turning a market behavior into a social behavior makes it more appealing, closer, harder to resist, more folksy, etc. Anthropormorphizing behavior makes things close. How does “Tide bring me these messages” in the middle of a TV program? Does it pick them up and carry them (on a Tide perhaps) to me?

    So to me this Customer Service letter would make me cancel my account. The company has not earned the right to be that intimate with me.

    With the increasing use of “social media”, we have to be careful that the social-ness doesn’t overstep the bounds of market-ness.

    • Posted June 16, 2011 at 9:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Chris – thanks for your thoughts. Just goes to show that one size NEVER fits all, even in terms of order verification. I, for one, like businesses that have the gumption to stand out, even though they may know their style is not for everyone. While it may turn off folks such as yourself, it probably helps the business zero in on the type of customer they want to have, and allow others to shop at other venues.

      I can totally relate to your feelings. There are ads on TV that I see regularly that make me want to scream. I will never, ever patronize these businesses, so obnoxious do I find them.

      Thanks for reading!

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